Hey thanks so much for having me! I’ve been great, just working towards getting the release ready. It’s been really cool, especially with things like this happening.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Under The Sun”?
It’s the fun one of the bunch with a little rock & roll here and some tropical vibes there. It’s coherently all over the place as it takes you through the motions. It’s about losing a hold of someone who went off to do God knows what.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
My first major break-up back in 2015. It was messy, I didn’t know how to process it, didn’t like to talk about it, but decided to write a whole album about it. “Under the Sun” is just one part of a bigger picture of me trying to hold it together.
The single comes off your new album Sevenths – what’s the story behind the title?
Sevenths has nothing to do with the main theme of heartbreak and everything to do with the extensive use of major and minor seventh chords throughout the 40-minute runtime. At this point the number seven has evolved into a separate and secondary theme for the album. There’s seven tracks with three seven minute songs on side-B. Of course, the real reason I chose and stuck with Sevenths is because it’s such a nice word.
How was the recording and writing process?
These are the first songs I’ve ever written and it was over the course of 2016. The rough demos ended up sitting on my computer for a few years until I did the official recordings this past September at Historic NJ with Kevin Basko (Rubber Band Gun). He helped bring my last project, Low Poly Breakfast, to life and did an even lovelier job this time around. I look up to him a lot and still find it crazy he took me under his wing.
My brother Arthur plays lead guitar on the album (although UTS him, Kevin, and me). He’s such a soulful guitarist and I wanted to give him a platform to express that. It’s still a collaboration as I’ll point things out to get it a certain way and he’ll know exactly how to get there.
It ended up being a mix of analog and digital in a best-of-both-worlds kind of way.
What role does NJ play in your music?
I’ve lived in NJ my entire life. My parents immigrated from the Philippines to Brooklyn where they met but moved here right before I was born. We’re still a convenient hour away from NY and I’m in love with the music scene there but I’m truly the community right outside my front door. Growing up things were culturally diverse and my friends continue to be this perfectly synced melting pot of everything from everywhere.
What aspect of relationships –especially breakups- did you get to explore on this record?
I didn’t originally intend for this but by the time I finished writing, I was able to link tracks 2-6 to the five stages of grief. I subconsciously processed it as I wrote it out and like real life I dart back and forth between stages as well. Tracks 1 and 7 work structurally as an introduction and conclusion unless you believe there are seven stages then shock and hope fit respectively. Towards the end I am able to reflect and see the fault in my own actions. I have a friend who is going through something similar and the hardest thing for him was that the album ended realistically and not with an end-all-be-all answer for getting over it.
What made you want to focus on this particular theme?
Writing music became my coping mechanism. I never thought things would end the way they did nor would have guessed I’d start writing music as a result. I did it for myself so I could feel a little better about everything and doing so in such a manner gave me the opportunity to say all that I needed. It’s been a while since then and I do feel better but I’m releasing this in hopes to not feel haunted anymore.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Despite what most people initially assume “so California” is a nod to Simon & Garfunkel. California is actually Florida in real life but California is a lot more catchier. “On the dark side of the moon” is Pink Floyd in meaning and Mulan in delivery. Verse 2 alludes to Matthew 16:26 but with the idea that people have sold their soul for a whole lot less. My intent with the chorus was to make something very poppy and catchy so my original go to was Lovefool by The Cardigans which you can still somewhat hear with the jangly guitars and the fun high-hat. There’s a small nod to John Lennon’s “Hold On” in the guitar riff during the verses and one to Paul McCartney’s “Picasso’s Last Words” as the piano comes in during the bossa nova outro.
Any plans to hit the road?
We’re hoping to play a lot more shows in more places this upcoming year. The live act is a five piece set and we’ve grown up with each other. You get a clear sense of that when we’re on stage. We have a lot of fun and it’s quite theatrical. There’s nothing set in stone aside from continuing to build our local following for the next few months. We have our ‘opening night’ and release show at Muchmore’s NYC on November 21st and Chamber 43 in Highland Park, NJ the following night. We hope to get involved with SXSW 2020 and later have some type of West Coast “Hot Summer Fun” tour (working title).
What else is happening next in NovaBound’s world?
I’m going to let Sevenths hang out for a minute and Low Poly Breakfast only came out the year before. I do have a few interesting ideas for different albums on file fully outlined bundled with ‘proof of concept’ demos. NovaBound is planning to go into space sometime down the line but for now I just want to stay grounded, improve on song-writing, and maybe not be bound to a specific theme again for the next project.